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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Wonder Woman Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman #16 Superman/Wonder Woman #16

Superman/Wonder Woman #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 18, 2015

Cover date: April 2015

"Vengeance So Dear"

Writer: Peter Tomasi
Penciller: Ed Benes and Doug Mahnke
Inker: Jaime Mendoza, Doug Mahnke and Mark Irwin

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman/Wonder Woman #16 Five years ago a small boy named David desperately runs home amid the invading forces of Apokolips. He is almost taken by a Parademon but is saved by his mother. The victory is short lived as his mother is eventually killed by another Parademon. As she is taken off she tells David to never stop moving forward.

In the present Circe introduces herself to Wonder Woman and threatens the civilians around them. Superman attacks but Circe sends Magog to confront the Man of Steel. Circe magically binds Wonder Woman and whisks her away as Magog attacks Superman, who is busy holding the bridge together. Magog accuses Superman and his ilk of ruining not only his life but the lives of everyone on Earth. Eventually Superman has quite enough of this, blasts Magog with his heat vision over and over again, which knocks the supposed savior to the ground. After securing the bridge Superman breaks Magog's trident and disappears just as agents of ARGUS arrive and secure Magog.

Meanwhile on the island of Aiaia Circe explains to a helpless Wonder Woman why she is Circe's prisoner. Years ago Circe made a deal with Queen Hippolyta to give the Amazons arms and armor in exchange for the men the Amazons kidnapped for reproductive purposes. Circe would use those men to create her own army but she learned that Hippolyta had made a secondary deal with Hephaestus to gain weapons capable of battling Circe. Feeling betrayed Circe planned her revenge against Hippolyta and was going to go through Diana to get it. Superman arrives and provides the distraction Diana needs to break free of Circe's spell. Circe hasn't run out of tricks and with Magog out of the way she weaves a spell on Superman that releases the animal inside of him. She turns this savage Man of Steel loose on Wonder Woman.

4Story - 4: You know, this comic may not contain the ideal versions of both Wonder Woman and Superman or even the versions of those characters that I in my heart of hearts want to see but man is this a fun ride.

Seriously, this issue had several, genuine, no foolin' fist pumping moments. It mixed action with exposition and never let up. It was entertaining and fun and Tomasi made the two stars of this book look just plain awesome.

To be fair this issue was mainly one fight scene followed by an explanation of why Circe has such a mad on for Wonder Woman followed by another fight scene followed by a cliffhanger ending of Superman flying towards the reader looking like he wants to stomp a hole and walk it dry. It's not the deepest of plots but where Tomasi excels is giving us character and motivation which makes the action seem like it has a purpose beyond simple entertainment. The very first scene explains why Magog has such a hatred for super heroes in general and both Superman and Wonder Woman in particular. He lost his entire family the day Apokolips invaded and he blames the heroes for that invasion. It's a tragic backstory for a tragic character. Matters are made worse by the fact that in the end Magog was just a pawn of Circe. She used him and his rage to further her own ends and at the first opportunity she cut ties and left him to be captured by ARGUS agents. If he wasn't so dangerous or trying to kill Superman I'd feel bad for the guy.

Circe may not be the most complex villain but, as with Magog, I like the motivation Tomasi gave her. She feels betrayed by a people that have quite a bit of blood on their hands. In particular Circe has it in for Hippolyta but, much like Magog, she goes after the wrong people. Instead of taking the fight directly to the Amazons she captures Diana. Now the main reason she does this is because the book is called SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN and not SUPERMAN AND THE AMAZONS which might be a great comic but it's not the one we're reading. No matter what the target of her ire becomes Circe is the lowest form of villain because at the end of the day she is mad that a group she entered into an agreement with to protect her interests has taken steps to protect themselves from her. She waited until her powers were at their peak to enact her revenge and she has done so by attacking the daughter of the woman she hates. It's all so petty that you forget for a moment that we're talking about mythological level beings and not the cast of a prime time soap opera.

I think that's why I enjoyed this issue so much because at the end of the day the plot works in just about any genre but I just happen to be reading it in a super hero book.

On a purely raw and visceral level I have to say my favorite part of the issue was when Superman had decided he had had quite enough of Magog and just unloaded on him. I'm not talking about the massive amount of heat vision dished out, though that was fun. I am talking about the fact that Superman never let go of the bridge. His main goal was to save the people in danger and Magog got in the way of that. I also dug that he didn't take all of Magog's accusations lying down. Over the past few years there have been a number of times where the villain accuses Superman of everything under the sun and he just sits there and takes it. Tomasi had Superman bite back. The reason Magog's family died was that Parademons from Apokolips invaded the Earth. The super heroes were there to stop them. There's this part of me that is sick to death at this whole "blame the super hero for the destruction" game that people have been playing, especially when it comes to Superman.

Actually, that's not just a part of me. That's most of me at this point, so it was nice to see a writer take a stand on the issue.

All in all this has been a fun storyline. This issue in particular had a lot of great moments and didn't feel like a filler chapter. Tomasi is off to a great start with this book and I look forward to seeing what else he has in store.

4Art - 4: I remain a fan of Doug Mahnke's work on this title. Wonder Woman and Superman are both on model. I especially like the way Mahnke draw's Superman newer outfit. He makes it a lot more dynamic than most artists do. The action was intense and the sequence where Superman cuts loose was great. I also like the creepy quality Mahnke brings to Circe. She is a frightful yet alluring character, which is a hard line to follow but Mahnke manages to walk it nicely. The flashback sequences from the beginning of the issue were great as well. Ed Benes really stepped up his game with those pages and I was very impressed with the result.

4Cover Art - 4: Overall I like this cover. It's got a good action feel to it and all the main players look good. I also like the creepy eyes in the background.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: This may not be the best of the various Harley Quinn covers but it is a lot of fun. I like the idea of Harley playing cupid. The coloring on this is neat as well.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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